Mats Nilsson

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Mats Nilsson
Mats Nilsson MMA Fighter.JPG
Born (1983-12-05) December 5, 1983 (age 34)
Helsingborg, Sweden
Nationality Sweden
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)
Division Middleweight (2008–2014)
Welterweight (2014–2015)
Reach 74.5 in (189 cm)
Style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Submission Wrestling, Shootfighting, Muay Thai, Kickboxing
Fighting out of Copenhagen, Denmark
Team Rumble Sports, Kaisho Martial Arts
Rank      Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[1]
     Black belt in Judo[1]
Years active 2008–2015 (MMA)
Kickboxing record
Total 1
Wins 1
By knockout 1
Losses 0
Draws 0
Mixed martial arts record
Total 16
Wins 11
By knockout 2
By submission 5
By decision 4
Losses 4
By knockout 1
By decision 3
Draws 1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: Sep 18, 2013
Mats Nilsson
Medal record
FILA Grappling World Championship
Gold medal – first place 2012 -92 kg No-gi
Gold medal – first place 2011 -90 kg No-gi
Gold medal – first place 2010 -90 kg No-gi
FILA Grappling European Championship
Bronze medal – third place 2012 -92 kg No-gi
Bronze medal – third place 2011 -90 kg No-gi
Bronze medal – third place 2010 -90 kg No-gi

Mats Nilsson (born December 5, 1983) is a Swedish grappler and retired mixed martial artist. Nilsson formerly competed in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He is the three time FILA Grappling world champion in the -90 kg no-gi and -92 kg no-gi division[2][3][4] and a two-time bronze medalist in FILA Grappling European Championship.[5][6] Nilsson holds a black belt in both Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is currently fighting out of Rumble Sports, Copenhagen, Denmark, while representing Kaisho Martial Arts, Helsingborg, Sweden in Grappling.

Judo career[edit]

Nilsson started practicing Judo at age of fifteen and this became a natural gateway to his interest for other martial arts. Nilsson's first success in Judo competition came when he secured first place in the Skåne junior class division in 1999. Nilsson's premier achievement within Judo came when he placed in third at the Swedish junior championships in 2002. He also took third place in the Swedish youth championships in 2000. Nilsson currently holds a black belt in Judo. Nilsson's Judo background can be seen in both his Submission wrestling and MMA arsenal as he utilizes Judo sweeps, throws and takedowns.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[edit]

Alongside Judo, Nilsson is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) practitioner. After some years training Nilsson gained great success in the first Scandinavian Open in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2003. He placed second in the 210 lbs division and came in third in the open weight (Absolute Class). The following years resulted in many trips to the podium including a first place in the Danish Brazilian jiu-jitsu open where he competed in the 205 lbs division. Nilsson received a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from Ricardo Carvalho in 2010. In September 2014 Nilsson received his black belt from Mauro Salomao.

Submission Wrestling[edit]

Nilsson represents Kaisho Martial Arts, Helsingborg, Sweden, in Grappling competitions. Prior to the Fighter Extreme 2 championship many of Nilssons training partners practiced submission wrestling. This form of competition intrigued Nilsson who started practicing the discipline. His first success came at the Copenhagen Open SW where he took first place in the 200 lbs division. This was the beginning of a successful career within submission wrestling. Three years after the initial success in Copenhagen, Nilsson took third place at ADCC- Germany in the 190 lbs weight class. In 2009 he competed in the Swedish Championships in Submission wrestling for the first time. He left the championship with two medals. He placed third in his natural 200 lbs weight class and in the open weight competition Nilsson took home the silver medal.

After these results in the Swedish Championships as well as prior success in the sport, Nilsson was selected to represent the Swedish national team in the FILA Grappling World Championships in Crakow, Poland. In Crakow Nilsson defeated Takanori Kudo in the final to become 2010 FILA World Grappling Champion.[2]

Following his win in the FILA Grappling World Championship, Nilsson was invited to Sportaccord Combat Games, which is the martial arts equivalent to the Olympic Games. The Sportaccord Combat Games were held in Beijing between August 28 and September 4, 2010. After two hard fought 1-0 losses Nilsson missed the podium and finished on fourth place.

Between September 24 and September 26 FILA's European Championship in Grappling were held in Gorlice, Poland. Nilsson fought three fights and finished in third place, ending up with a bronze medal.[5]

Nilsson participated in the FILA Grappling Grand Prix that was held between the seventh and eight May 2011 in Martigny, Switzerland. He competed in the -90 kg weight class and after four wins, of which three was submission victories, he took home the gold medal.[7]

The next Grappling competition in Nilsson's calendar was the FILA Grappling European championship which was held in Yuzhny, Ukraine in June 2011. After going 2-1 in matches, 2 wins and one draw, he ended up with his second bronze medal from European Championships.[6]

The Swedish Submission Wrestling Championship was held in July 2011. After losing the final with the closest margin possible Nilsson finished second after a loss against Alexander Bergman in the -91 kg division.[8]

On 29 September 2011, Nilsson once again competed in the FILA Grappling World Championship this time held in Belgrade, Serbia. After his win the previous year Nilsson had chance to defend his world title. After winning three matches he once again became the World Champion of FILA Grappling winning his second consecutive world title in the -90 kg no-gi division.[3]

On the 28 of July 2012 Nilsson won hos third bronze at the FILA Grappling European Championship that took place in Brussels, Belgium, now in the -92 kg no-gi division.[9]

The 17 of November 2012 Nilsson competed at the FILA Grappling World Championship in Crakow, Poland. After beating three opponents he was crowned the World Champion a third consecutive time. Nilsson won the final against top grappler Zbigniew Tyszka from Poland. Nilsson did not lose a single point during tournament. After the win, Nilsson announced his retirement from Submission Wrestling with the reason that he wanted to focus more on his MMA career and his family.[4]


Following his success in Submission Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, Nilsson decided to try Shootfighting. In 2007 Nilsson started competing in the Swedish Shootfighting league. Later the same year Nilsson placed first in the Swedish Shootfighting Championships. Nilsson's Shootfighting record stands at 6-0-0, with a win by decision against UFC fighter Alexander Gustafsson.

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Early career[edit]

Nilsson began his Mixed Martial Arts career representing Kaisho Martial Arts, a gym he had been with since the beginning of his grappling training. He won his first fight via decision over Martin Lavin at The Zone FC - Showdown, May 10, 2008.[10]

On May 7, 2010, Nilsson competed in his fifth professional fight, at The Cage: Spring Break against Mikko Koivumaki and Nilsson secured a second-round TKO victory. This earned him a shot at the champion of the -84 kg division, Timo Suhonen.[11] At Cage Challenger on 18 September 2010 they fought for the belt. Nilsson lost the fight after three rounds by decision. Nilsson's next challenge was on November 27 when he faced Croatian Ivan Gluhak at The Zone FC 7 – Warriors.[12] Nilsson won in devastating fashion as he submitted Gluhak in one minute via rear-naked-choke and soon got a new fight offer from The Zone FC. Nilsson fought Gregor Herb[13] at The Zone - Inferno.[14] The bout was highly anticipated because of the fighter's previous grappling credentials. Herb was the current European CBJJ brown belt champion and Nilsson the current FILA Grappling world champion. Nilsson won the hard fought match by decision.[15]

The 30th of March 2011 Nilsson entered Strength and Honor’s middleweight Grand Prix to determine the champion. His first match was against Greek fighter Niko Sokolis (7-1). 30 seconds into the bout Sokolis was taken down to the ground by Nilsson with a slam so hard that the particle board under the canvas broke. After taking the fight to the mat Nilsson quickly mounted his opponent and secured a triangle choke for the tapout after a scramble. The Grand Prix Final was going to take place in September 2011 but it never materialized.[16]

Cage Warriors and other organisations[edit]

On February 11, 2012, Nilsson defeated The Ultimate Fighter finalist Tom Speer via second round arm triangle choke at Cage Warriors Fight Night 3.

Nilsson's next fight was against Russian fighter Alavutdin Gadjiev in Strength & Honor Championship 5 which took place March 24 in Genève, Switzerland.[17] Nilsson won via armbar 0:24 in the first round. This was his last fight representing Kaisho Martial Arts in MMA.

On May 6, 2012, Nilsson fought fellow Swedish top middleweight prospect Tor Troéng on The Zone - Demolition in Gothenburg, Sweden.[18] This was the first fight Nilsson represented Rumble Sports, Copenhagen.[19] The Troeng vs Nilsson fight was named in Sherdog's "10 May Tussles Worth Watching".[20] After three rounds Nilsson lost a unanimous decision.[21]

On February 29, 2012, it became official that Nilsson signed an exclusive multi-fight deal with London based MMA organisation Cage Warriors.[22] The contract begun after his fight at The Zone Fighting Championship - Demolition.[23] Nilsson was expected to fight Denniston Sutherland on Cage Warriors 50 which took place the 8 of December 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland, but had too withdraw due to a torn LCL.[24]

Nilsson fought for the first time in almost a year when he faced British fighter Chris Scott the 13th of April 2013. After three rounds Nilsson took home the decision victory.[25]

On September 14 Nilsson fought Denniston Sutherland and took home the TKO win in the second round. Nilsson dominated the fight throughout the two rounds via takedowns and ground and pound.[26]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

On December 17, 2013, it was announced that Nilsson had signed with the UFC to fight in their middleweight division.[27] Nilsson made his UFC debut against Luke Barnatt on UFC Fight Night 37 on March 8, 2014 in London.[28] He lost the fight via TKO due to strikes in the first round.

For his next fight, Nilsson dropped down to welterweight. He faced Omari Akhmedov on January 3, 2015 at UFC 182.[29] He lost the fight by unanimous decision.

On January 17, 2015, Nilsson announced his retirement from MMA competition.[30]

Muay Thai[edit]

Before Nilsson’s first Shootfighting fight 2006, he started training Muay Thai at Helsingborgs Muay Thai. Every year he spends some time in Thailand to improve his Muay Thai. In January 2012 he fought his first fight in the discipline in Phuket, Thailand, and won by knockout under the minute.[31]


Nilsson was nominated in four categories when the Swedish Martial Arts Gala 2011, Kampsportsgalan in Swedish, was held on 26 March 2011.[32] He ended up winning two categories: Breakthrough of the Year and Champion of the Year.[33] Nilsson was nominated in two categories at the 2012 Swedish Martial Arts Gala, Kampsportsgalan 2012, Champion of the Year and People's Award.[34] For the second year in a row he won the Champion of the Year award.[35]

In March 2013 Nilsson got nominated for Helsingborgsmedaljen(The Medal of Helsingborg). Former recipients include Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and Henrik Larsson.[36]

On the monthly UK MMA Awards Nilsson won the International Fighter of the Month in September 2013.[37]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 11–4–1 Omari Akhmedov Decision (unanimous) UFC 182 January 3, 2015 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Welterweight debut.
Loss 11–3–1 Luke Barnatt TKO (head kick and punches) UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa March 8, 2014 1 4:24 London, England
Win 11–2–1 Denniston Sutherland TKO (punches) CWFC 59 September 14, 2013 2 2:40 Cardiff, Wales
Win 10–2–1 Chris Scott Decision (unanimous) CWFC 53 April 13, 2013 3 5:00 Glasgow, Scotland
Loss 9–2–1 Tor Troéng Decision (unanimous) The Zone FC 10 - Demolition May 6, 2012 3 5:00 Gothenburg, Sweden
Win 9–1–1 Alavutdin Gadjiev Submission (armbar) Strength and Honor Championship 5 March 24, 2012 1 0:24 Geneva, Switzerland
Win 8–1–1 Tom Speer Submission (arm-triangle choke) Cage Warriors Fight Night 3 February 11, 2012 2 4:10 Beirut, Lebanon
Win 7–1–1 Nikos Sokolis Submission (triangle choke) Strength and Honor Championship 4 April 30, 2011 1 1:41 Geneva, Switzerland
Win 6–1–1 Gregor Herb Decision (unanimous) The Zone FC 8 - Inferno February 26, 2011 3 5:00 Gothenburg, Sweden
Win 5–1–1 Ivan Gluhak Submission (rear-naked choke) The Zone FC 7 - Warriors November 27, 2010 1 1:00 Gothenburg, Sweden
Loss 4–1–1 Timo Suhonen Decision (unanimous) Cage - Challenger September 18, 2010 3 5:00 Riihimaki, Finland For the Cage Middleweight Championship.
Win 4–0–1 Mikko Koivumaki TKO (punches) Cage 13 - Spring Break May 8, 2010 2 2:59 Vantaa, Finland
Draw 3–0–1 Toni Linden Draw Shooto Finland - Helsinki Fight Night November 28, 2009 2 5:00 Helsinki, Finland
Win 3–0 Nick Osei Decision (unanimous) Fighter Gala 9 August 30, 2009 3 5:00 Elsinore, Denmark
Win 2–0 Magnus Cedenblad Submission (rear-naked choke) The Zone FC 4 - Dynamite April 25, 2009 1 3:49 Gothenburg, Sweden
Win 1–0 Martin Lavin Decision (unanimous) The Zone FC 2 - Showdown May 10, 2008 3 5:00 Gothenburg, Sweden

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mats Nilsson - Official UFC Fighter Profile". Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "World Championships GP" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Mats Nilsson försvarade VM-guldet - Fightermag". 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  4. ^ a b "Mats Nilsson slutade på topp" (in Swedish). 2012-11-17. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  5. ^ a b "European Championships : Grappling" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  6. ^ a b "Senior European Championship : Grappling No-Gi" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  8. ^ "Resultat SM i Submission Wrestling 2011 - Fightermag". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "The Zone FC 2 - Showdown". 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  11. ^ "Timo Suhonen MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  12. ^ "Mats Nilsson på The Zone FC - Fightermag". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  13. ^ "Gregor "Bulldozer" Herb MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography". 1978-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  14. ^ "Nilsson vs. Herb - Fightermag". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  15. ^ Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Snabb vinst för Nilsson". 2011-05-01. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  17. ^ [2] Archived September 13, 2012, at
  18. ^ "Nilsson Vs. Troeng på The Zone FC - Demolition - Fightermag". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  19. ^ "• Interview - Mats Nilsson". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  20. ^ Leidecker, Tim (2012-04-30). "10 May Tussles Worth Watching". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  21. ^ "Tor Troéng besegrar Mats Nilsson via ett enhälligt domslut på The Zone FC: Demolition". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  22. ^ [3] Archived March 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "Nilsson och Gonzalez skriver kontrakt med Cage Warriors - Fightermag". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  24. ^ "Cage Warriors". Cage Warriors. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  25. ^ Erickson, Matt (2013-04-13). "Cage Warriors 53 results: Alers submits Salovaara to win featherweight title". MMAjunkie. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  26. ^ Erickson, Matt (2013-09-14). "Cage Warriors 59 results: Johns outlasts Desborough to claim bantamweight belt". MMAjunkie. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  27. ^ "Mats Nilsson signed to the UFC: 'Love it when hard work pays off'". Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  28. ^ "Svenske Mats Nilsson skriver på för UFC, möter Luke Barnatt på UFC Fight Night 37". 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  29. ^ Staff (October 28, 2014). "Omari Akhmedov vs. Mats Nilsson added to UFC 182 in Las Vegas". Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ Tristen Critchfield (January 17, 2015). "Two-Time UFC Competitor Mats Nilsson Announces Retirement from MMA". 
  31. ^ "Mats gick på knock direkt" (in Swedish). 2012-01-15. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  32. ^ "Nominerade | Kampsportsgalan". Archived from the original on 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  33. ^ "Kampsportsgalan 2011 – Resultat". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  34. ^ "De är årets nominerade till Kampsportsgalan 2012 | Svenska Budo & Kampsportsförbundet". 2012-02-23. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  35. ^ "Mats Nilsson vinner på en armbar efter 24 sekunder, och tar en vinst på Kampsportsgalan 2012". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  36. ^ "Männen tar grepp om Helsingborgsmedaljen" (in Swedish). 2013-03-20. Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  37. ^ "UK And Irish MMA Awards: September 2013 Results". Archived from the original on 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 

External links[edit]